Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Don't ride him like a hunter!"

Even though I am a hunter trying to ride a hunter course and making a mediocre attempt at making this horse move like a hunter, I can't ride him like a hunter. Easy, right? Wrong! It's actually unreasonably difficult. Let me explain.

Today, I rode Splash. How that happened, I do not know, but it happened. Splash was a WP World Champion in his younger years, and he's not really suited to hunters (which I don't really care about because he tucks like a beast over jumps). I had to push him so much, but, surprisingly, not as much as Duke (ya know, the bred, raised, and trained hunter pony). I've really been focusing on squeezing more with my calves and letting my weight fall down and around my horse as opposed to pinching at the knee and putting all my weight on that one joint. It's a work in progress, but it was definitely better today than it's been my last couple of lessons, especially over fences.

I was really proud of just how improved I was over fences. Weight fell right down, core support, hands forward with contact. It was so beautiful, and it felt beautiful. I will admit though, my canter today was a bit difficult, especially the weight in the heels, plus I still came up too early on most of the fences. We'll get there; I know we'll get there. Do you know how I know? Keep reading. You will know how I know.

So, out of the blue, after I get Splash to canter nicely over a couple of fences, trainer yells out, "Okay, let's all switch horses." I looked at my girl Fifi and said I was riding her new horse Sanibel. Sanibel is Fifi's RPSI 4-year-old, and I had wanted to ride her since I first saw her undersaddle. Oh, she's a nice horse. Just look through some of my other posts. She's the dark brown pinto with minimal white. Fifi agrees, so I hopped off of Splash, adjusted the stirrups, and got on Sanibel. I walked her a bit. I trotted her a bit. I cantered a bit . . . and then we jumped. I swear, in that moment you could have convinced me that I was the long lost love child of Rich Fellers and Reed Kessler. I felt so friggen professional. I was on a warmblood, I was jumping, I was in my half seat, my hands were nice and smooth. Everything felt so amazing. I want that horse. I want that horse so bad. I turned to my friend at one point and said, "Thanks for letting me ride your horse when she was tired!" I know for a fact that Sanibel would have thrown me if I had ridden her the entire lesson. Fifi is definitely a better rider than me (and probably wants to rip my head off for riding her horse), and she handles Sanibel well . . . but I will probably reminisce over those 10 minutes on that mare until the day I died. I shall refer to it as, "The day George Morris realized that someone just might end up being better than him." Kidding, Mr. Morris, it's only for laughs *insert innocent smiley face*.

A couple of random pics so you know what I'm working with. 
Sanibel and her mommy
Sanibel <3
The only picture I have of his "English Trot"
Splash in all his glory

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